March 12, 2009
Charles Dickens said that when he finished writing “David Copperfield,” he felt if as someone had died. In a trivial way, I’m starting to feel that way about the approaching end of “ER.” I can’t explain my attachment to this show – especially in the past couple of years which I have spent straining to hear at least every third word uttered by Parmindra Nagra, who could win the Emmy for mumbling – to go along with her Guinness entry for sustained angst. I don’t even like the show enough to ever watch a re-run – on TV, never mind on line. Now that the end is in sight, the producers have been bringing back former characters, including Noah Wiley, who had a contractual obligation to do the encore. If he had known he was going to wind up on dialysis, he might have been more careful with his fountain pen. Julianna Margulies and Maura Tierney are among those expected at the reunion. Anthony Edwards, Abraham Benrubi, and William Macy have already picked up their name tags. Smart money says George Clooney will be nowhere in sight. Meanwhile, my regular television viewing will have been reduced to “Seinfeld” reruns. For the rest, baseball in season and occasional TCM movies and PBS productions – such as that wonderful “American Masters” profile of Jerome Robbins – will have to do. “Gray’s Anatomy” and “Scrubs” are just not up to – or down to – mystandards for medical shows. It’s a been a long run from “Medic” through “St. Elsewhere” and “Chicago Hope,” but now, I’m afraid, I’m a permanent outpatient.
March 12, 2009
The Wall Street Journal reported today on the growing concern about man-made debris – the flotsam and jetsam of space missions launched over the past four decades. The junk orbiting the earth is both a danger to those of us on the surface of the planet who could be in the way when some scrap makes it through the atmosphere and a hazard to navigation up there. This is a case of the future imitating the past, isn’t it? What did the corporate “we” think was going to happen if every vehicle launched into space left its share of detritus? Probably the same thing we thought about all the batteries and vacuum tubes and flip tops mouldering away – or, more to the point, not mouldering away – in our landfills; the same thing we thought about all the chemical waste and scraps of mylar swirling around in the feeding grounds of dolphins. What’s that you say, Mr. Seeger? Oh, yes: “When will they ever learn?”